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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hamilton...but buy it and keep it in storage until the others are published
Having been caught out by 'The Reality Dysfunction', I was expecting a book that left everything hanging. And I was not disappointed. The good news is that there are two more books to come...and the also good news is that I'll read 'The Dreaming Void' again when I buy each of them because otherwise who can remember everything that's going on otherwise.

Now,...
Published on 18 Feb 2008 by Tghu Verd

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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book - spoiled by poor formatting on Kindle
The book itself is fine - up to his usual standard. Sadly, though, the Kindle edition is marred by multiple layout problems. Paragraphs are merged together or split (sometimes half way through a sentence), punctuation is missing... it basically reads like an early proof copy. Given the ease of fixing this sort of thing in digital editions, the lack of care from the...
Published on 30 Sep 2010 by Tim Wright


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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book - spoiled by poor formatting on Kindle, 30 Sep 2010
The book itself is fine - up to his usual standard. Sadly, though, the Kindle edition is marred by multiple layout problems. Paragraphs are merged together or split (sometimes half way through a sentence), punctuation is missing... it basically reads like an early proof copy. Given the ease of fixing this sort of thing in digital editions, the lack of care from the publisher is disappointing, and I wouldn't recommend purchasing until they have been resolved.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hamilton...but buy it and keep it in storage until the others are published, 18 Feb 2008
Having been caught out by 'The Reality Dysfunction', I was expecting a book that left everything hanging. And I was not disappointed. The good news is that there are two more books to come...and the also good news is that I'll read 'The Dreaming Void' again when I buy each of them because otherwise who can remember everything that's going on otherwise.

Now, is it any good? Yes, if you like your SciFi layered with gizmos, gadgets and high-tech humans. Plus you get a large cast, heaps of planets described in gory detail and a plot that looks like its going somewhere.

So, buy it but if you can't cope with a novel that literally just stops and leaves everything hanging until the next installment, then put it away and don't read on until you have collected all three!!
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121 of 130 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent SF/Fantasy Hybrid, 3 Sep 2007
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Peter F. Hamilton is one of SF's most reliably entertaining authors, churning out blockbuster epics so huge that the hardcovers can be used as aids to hippopotamus euthanasia, whilst retaining the ability to tell page-turning, gripping stories. His Night's Dawn Trilogy is a classic of the genre, but his more recent duology, The Commonwealth Saga, was a more mixed bag. An excellent and very promising opening installment, Pandora's Star, was followed up by the mildly disappointing Judas Unchained, which ended the story in a rather rushed and somewhat confused manner.

The Dreaming Void, Book 1 of The Void Trilogy, picks up the story in AD 3589, 1,205 years after the conclusion of the Starflyer War. Humanity is now split into three distinct sub-species: normal humans, Highers (who live in roughly equal paradise-like conditions with all their needs provided by their nations) and Advancers (who live essentially inside a vast cyberspace-like reality called ANA and download into biologically-grown bodies when they need to visit the real world). They are spread over a thousand worlds, unified as the Greater Commonwealth, which is now one of the most powerful forces in the Galaxy. Dozens of alien races have been contacted, many mysteries from the first two books have been solved (some of them rather dismissively explained within a few pages of the novel's opening) and mankind is now officially allied to the Raiel, now revealed as the most powerful race in the Galaxy. Life is seemingly good.

However, the black hole at the centre of the Galaxy, dubbed 'The Void' by some, is expanding much quicker than it should, threatening to shorten the lifespan of the Galaxy by possibly several billion years. According to hundreds of thousands of years of constant study by the Raiel, the Void is actually an artificial construction of unknown purpose, feeding on the surrounding stars to survive. One human, Inigo, claims to have made contact with the inhabitants of the Void through his dreams. In these dreams he reveals a beautiful world where humans live as natural telepaths under the protection of the 'Waterwalker' and the 'Skylords' who seemingly rule over the Void. Thanks to the Gaiafield, billions of humans have now shared these dreams and the Living Dream movement is gathering momentum, apparently planning on a mass exodus into the Void. This move is opposed by many who believe it will trigger a dangerous and possibly unstoppable expansion of the Void.

The book follows several key plotlines set in the Commonwealth, as some work for the Pilgrimage to take place and others attempt to stop it. Hamilton gives us several interesting new characters here, such as the purposely amnesiac assassin and secret agent Aaron, but it's the return of several key characters from The Commonwealth Saga, such as Paula Myo, whom fans will probably most welcome. Unfortunately, Hamilton's tendency to have one young, attractive female character who takes part in a number of rather explicit sex scenes resurfaces here. There's nothing too wrong with that save it adds little either to the character or the book overall. It is, however, made up for by the fact that some thought has gone into sex in the far future, with scenes involving gestalt humans, who control many bodies with one mind, generating interesting scenarios.

The Commonwealth storylines are all enjoyable and handled with Hamilton's typical confidence and verve. However, a couple of the stories are not as developed as deeply as might be liked. Whilst the timeline hints at the fates of key central characters from the Commonwealth Saga (the SI, Ozzie and Sheldon most notably) there isn't much about them in the text, which will confuse some readers of the earlier work. The storyline about the alien Ocisens is also dropped rather abruptly halfway through the novel despite being set up as a major force earlier in the book (and provides the cover image). There's also a slight feeling of being sold short: there are simply far fewer plotlines and subplots than in previous Hamilton SF blockbusters. Whilst this will no doubt please critics of his previous complexity, those who enjoyed that complexity may walk away feeling a little under-nourished by this offering. Finally, Hamilton seems to have tried to appeal to both fans of The Commonwealth Saga and the new reader and make the book accessible to both, but has instead fallen between the two stools, neither offering enough information to fully sate fans of the earlier series nor keeping such references limited enough so as not to confuse new readers.

Luckily, the book's weaknesses are pretty much swept away by the book's major subplot. Set inside the Void, this story follows the life of Edeard, a young 'shaper' whose life is changed forever by a cataclysmic event and he finds his way to the great city of Makkatheren where he enters the service of the constables. Almost completely separate from the rest of the novel (though the final revelation can perhaps been seen from several chapters away), this storyline would, by itself, qualify as the best epic fantasy so far released in 2007 (easily blowing away both The Name of the Wind and Red Seas Under Red Skies, as fine as they are) if it wasn't constantly interrupted by the SF plotlines set in the Commonwealth. Hamilton's revelation that the sequel will focus much more on Edeard's odyssey is thus most welcome.

The Dreaming Void (****) is yet another very fine Peter F. Hamilton novel which sees him breaking new ground with a possible stealth move into fantasy whilst retaining the hallmarks that made his previous books so readable. There are some minor flaws, but Hamilton's decision to produce a shorter book (even if only by own standards) has paid off nicely, leaving the reader wanting more rather than feeling a bit bloated as with some of his prior books. The novel is published by MacMillan in the UK and will be released by Del Rey in the United States in February 2008. The second book in the trilogy, The Temporal Void, will follow at the end of next year.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, intriguing, involving..., 20 Aug 2007
By 
Mark P. (British Isles) - See all my reviews
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I've been a fan of PFH since reading the Night's Dawn trilogy years ago - and have subsequently read them numerous times.

Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained were also good, but didn't feel quite as involving - although they grew on me after a couple of reads through.

Dreaming Void builds on from the Commonwealth universe of Pandora/Judas, and illustrates an excellent maturing of the technology, planets and people, and it's fascinating to see how the technology in some of his other books (e.g. Misspent Youth) has grown up to become a core part of the universe, and a way in which some of the characters have been enhanced and rejuvenated over the course of a thousand or so years.
It does occasionally feel a bit contrived to have the same people wandering around after all this time, but when put into context with the futuristic technology then it seems like it could be plausible. The downside of this is, as has been pointed out in another review, that the "old" characters aren't explained or fleshed-out as much as some of the newcomers - which means that to fully understand their motives, personality, etc. you'll need to read the two earlier books.

There are - as ever - several initially separate storylines which build together; I always enjoy the moment at which something clicks for me, and I realise the relevance of such a thread; in this case there were two - where things fell into place about Araminta, and then Edeard. I experienced the same frustration upon reaching the end of this book as I did when reading Pandora's Star - everything is building up nicely, but none of the threads are being resolved - and then it finishes on a cliffhanger and you've got to wait until the next "episode"! Argh!

Personally, I can't wait - and I can forsee that this is going to be another series of books that whenever the next book is released, I go back and read it all again ab initio...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book, 4 Oct 2007
By 
Paul Chipperfield (Frimley Green, England) - See all my reviews
Peter Hamilton has a style of writing that makes it easy to get into his books. If you know his books, then this returns to his best. If you don't, then you will be transported into a universe that ranges from beautiful humanity to inhumane violence, slow country life to breath-taking action and an incredible imagination of one of the best Sci-fi writers going. It may be a large book, but you will breeze through the pages.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 4 Sep 2007
This book is the fourth entry in Hamilton's "Commonwealth" universe, following on from Misspent Youth, Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained.
Hamilton departs slightly from his normal sci-fi focus by concentrating a chunk of this book on the life story of a youth on a pre-industrial world in the "Void". It is the telepathic signals of this character that cause the events in the wider Commonwealth universe and lead various characters (some old, some new) to wrestle with the effects it has on the psychically sensitive population of one of the Commonwealth worlds.

I was not too keen on the previous books in this series because I felt they missed some of the Hamilton essentials found in the Mandel and Nightsdawn books. However, despite its strong links to the characters, plots and plot devices of Judas Unchained I feel this book is quite different and far better. The element of mystery has crept back in and his ideas on the evolution of humanity itself make for interesting reading, even if they take some time to understand. The new characters are all quite interesting (no more Paris Hilton-with-built-in-gun/phone types) and more believable. The ability to describe new worlds and new technologies with great verve was never lost, and this book contains plenty of proper "science fiction" as well as some fantasy elements. It doesn't end with a desperate cliff-hanger, but there is certainly a lot to look forward to in the next book.

Good stuff.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I was expecting, 11 July 2008
By 
Chris Widgery (London) - See all my reviews
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Much to my wife's frustration, I have always enjoyed a thick dollop of space opera. And really, really loved the Night's Dawn trilogy that Hamilton wrote a few years back. Great story coupled with fun ideas. But it did go on a bit.

Then he got even more prolix with the Judas Unchained and Pandora's Star (forgive me if I got the titles wrong). And this new one, this Dreaming Void, is also too long. I think part of his problem is that he always puts in one storyline too many. Probably needs a more robust editor. Anyway, the new book.

The plots are too complex to explain simply, but don't pay too much attention to the blurb on the back. The very very brief version is: mysterious Void sat in the middle of the galaxy, this chap Inigo (regrettebly at no point does he say, "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. Prepare to die") has dreams of life inside the Void - in which we follow the travails of Edeard, a young man making his way in a mediaevalesque society. Inigo then vanishes, and followers of his religion decide to mount a pilgramage to the void. Which lots of other people think will be a really bad idea because it could be the end of life, the universe and everything.

The main problem with it is that it's too long, again. If he carries on at this length, the final trilogy will be two and a half thousand pages. There's too much going on, some rather dodgy sex scenes, and the whole thing just isn't as enjoyable or as readable now as Alistair Reynolds.

That said, it rattles along, is fun and if you liked Night's Dawn and like people charging round the universe trying to prevent everything going horribly wrong, then this might be for you.

One final plea: can he please, please stop using the word "lambent". Yes, it's a clever word, but you are the only author I have ever read who uses it, and it would work far better if you dropped it in once every other book rather than three times in the first hundred pages. I thank you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 3 Feb 2008
By 
R. Kershaw - See all my reviews
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Due to the length of several reviews I will keep this short - If you enjoy the other Hamilton books this is for you. If your new to them I would recommend getting hold of the double episode commonwealth saga first as it sets the stage for much of what this book is about although it holds its own as a first read. A good 1500 years on from the saga much has changed there is lots of new technology to get your head around and without spoiling the read lots of jumping in time happens in the form of reviewing dreams of the past. My only problem is I got to the end and as everything fell into place I ran out of book. Bring on the next one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody irritated..., 2 Dec 2007
that I'm now going to have to wait years to read the rest of the story... ...another fantastic offering by Hamilton showing his immense imagination off to the full. For the people that couldn't get into it or thought the the storyline meandered - think about the other books - and the sheer scale of the story. Multiple characters, cultures and races spread across multiple solar systems - are you expecting a linear storyline??

Anyhoo, nice book but annoyed that it's going to be a while before I find out how it finishes..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK - but read Hamilton's other stuff first!, 7 Oct 2009
By 
David K. Smith (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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First off, I have to say I am a big Hamilton fan and have read everything he has written - The Night's Dawn Trilogy and Fallen Dragon are some of the best things in recent sci-fi. However, this book is not as good as some of his previous efforts. On this time out, Hamilton has blended space opera with fantasy, but unfortunately the book needs much more careful editing, and unfortunately only some of the plotlines are interesting.

As usual with Hamilton, the book is very readable in style and many of his characters are sympathetic and likeable. However, the book is overlong and drawn out. The most interesting plotline is the fantasy-like one - however, even this is pretty thin. I honestly think all of the plot in this book could have been laid out in about 300 pages of cogent text. Normally, Hamilton manages to deliver multiple, parallel gripping storylines, with different points of view across a galaxy-spanning storyline and therefore gets away with his epic book lengths. This time, however, he doesn't really achieve it - simply put, not enough happens. I would also note that a lot of the material builds on previous Hamilton's books - almost to the point of being annoying - even to a Hamilton fan.

I know all this sounds pretty negative, but overall, Hamilton is still a good read, and there are good ideas in the book - just not enough to justify so many pages.
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The Dreaming Void: The Void trilogy: Book One (Void Trilogy 1)
The Dreaming Void: The Void trilogy: Book One (Void Trilogy 1) by Peter F. Hamilton (Paperback - 27 Sep 2012)
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